25 August 2008

A Winter Workshop Wonderland

Looking for a way to improve your restoration skills during the winter months? With the year’s schedule of car shows and swap meets virtually over, many hobbyists resign themselves to suffering “withdrawal symptoms” for the next four or five months, but that doesn’t have to include you…especially if you’re into British cars.

MG restoration expert John Twist recently announced the 2006 dates for his 23rd annual series of technical seminars aimed at British car enthusiasts. According to Twist, there will be eight different hands-on workshops this year. They will be held February 1–23 at University Motors Ltd., a British Motor Heritage-approved workshop, in Ada, Michigan (near Grand Rapids). Twist started operating this repair-and-restoration facility in 1971, following a stint as a mechanic at the original University Motors in England. He’s been doing it annually ever since.

Some of the 2006 technical seminars will be three-day weekend sessions, while others will be two-day courses on weekdays. The first seminar on rebuilding the XPEG engine used in TC, TD and some TF models will be a lecture and observation seminar. The weekend seminars – one on MG mechanicals and one on MGB restoration – are lecture and hands-on programs. Four other weekday sessions are workshops in which students will bring and rebuild gearboxes, carburetors and front suspension units from their own cars.

Typically, the University Motors seminars draw a combination of inquisitive car owners who are amateurs at restoration work and professional mechanics employed by sports car repair shops. As a result, they generate a lot of networking between enthusiasts with different levels of skill. The registration fee for each seminar is $325. Travel expenses, book fees and parts costs are additional.

A similar workshop on MGB Sheet Metal Restoration is also scheduled for February 15–16 at Eclectic Motorworks in Holland, Michigan. This shop is run by auto restorer and writer Carl Heideman, a former employee of University Motors, and it specializes in MGA and MGB restoration work.

John “Gunner” Gunnell is the automotive books editor at Krause Publications in Iola, Wis., and former editor of Old Cars Weekly andmOld Cars Price Guide.

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